Sunday, April 7, 2013

Worst Films of 2012

Usually the only thing more fun than doing the top ten films list is doing the bottom ten of the year. It's well known that the only thing more fun than listening to someone rant about movies that everyone likes is hearing them bag on movies everyone hates. So, I'm probably going to piss some people off with this one. And for mostly good reason; 2012 was an astonishingly good year for movies, which means most of these really aren't all that bad. So even my list, which is somewhat neutered as it is to make up for my almost obsessive habit of generally staying away from bad movies, probably has a few that people liked. Ergo, all of this year's favorites, like Ghost Rider 2 or whatever crap Adam Sandler came out with probably didn't make the cut. Just whatever I got forced into seeing on a date. Which, does not happen a whole lot.

10. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

 Oh wow. I'm going to get shit for this one. If I'm lucky it'll just be in the comments section and my friends won't give me too much shit. Look, I don't hate The Hobbit Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, it's not even really a bad movie. I even sort of enjoyed watching it. I'll probably even watch the next one. Again this about as good, or bad, as I can do. I loved the book as a kid, and I was looking forward to the movie for years. I'm willing to overlook the fact that there is CGI in almost every shot, or the fact that the film's childish tone, and the high frame rate basically make the film look like a cartoon, or the fact that the only truly good points are when characters from the Lord of the Rings show up for no real reason. But the real problem is the most obvious one; it isn't complete. By the time the movie is over, it's been three hours and I couldn't help but feel that all that time, and all the stuff they needlessly threw in from Tolkien's appendices was completely worthless in helping us get to know the characters better. I wasn't expecting a Fellowship-worthy masterpiece, but I was expecting a full movie. Also, it's currently in the IMDB top 250. I know we all love Tolkien, but it's important to remember that just because a film does justice to a good story does not make the film itself good.

9. The Amazing Spider-Man
On the subject of movies I don't hate, here's this. I know people that like this movie, and people who absolutely hate it in every way. I understand both arguments. At this point, I'm kind of just judging it by whether or not it's worse than "Hobbit" and, to that film's credit, it is. But this one is not that bad either. It offers a slightly more gritty look at the character, where the darker sides of New York are on display. Furthermore, Stone and Garfield have great chemistry, Martin Sheen and Sally Field are a great Uncle Ben and Aunt May, and Dennis Leary is great as Denis Leary. But that's it. The rest of the movie is full of plots that are left unanswered, awkwardly directed scenes, and dumb dialogue. Also Kermit the Fucking Frog is the villain. And his objective is to turn everyone in New York into other Kermit the Frogs. The 3D was awful too.

8. Snow White and the Huntsman
 Snow White and the Huntsman, like most of this year's less good movies, is a great example of an otherwise fine film ruined by the script. For one thing, it's clear to say that Charlize Theron is the best thing about a film that should have just been called "Evil Bitch Queen". I'm not going to lie, this is one of the best shot films in a year filled with well shot films, and Theron's female Darth Vader is an intimidating dictator. I honestly didn't regret watching it, but it's not really worth the money to watch again. It just doesn't hold one's interest for too long. The dialogue is kind of shitty, and the pacing is off, and the characters don't have any chemistry. Also, there are seven dwarfs in the movie, none of whom are actually played by dwarfs or have any influence on the story.

7. The Campaign
 Now we're getting into the bad stuff. The Campaign is a mostly unfunny attempt by the usually fantastic Adam McKay at political humor in the middle of the 2012 presidential race. One of the problems is that, contrary to popular belief, Will Ferrell acting like a manchild and Zach Galifinakis talking like a weirdo is not intrinsically funny. Neither character is incredibly likeable because of one major problem: you cannot do political satire without pissing people off. So trying to have both a republican and a democrat main character should at least give a little insight into the political system. But no, we wouldn't want to offend anyone. So everyone of every belief is right at the end of the day, because the Koch brothers are the ones raping the system. That's only half right. At least The Newsroom is honest about where it stands.

6. The Bourne Legacy
Okay, let's explain the good things about Bourne Legacy. The acting is mostly good, there's two truly tense action scenes. And that's it. Fuck this movie. I wasn't looking forward to seeing it, and I wasn't looking forward to it being made. At least the initial premise, where the CIA decides to kill every assassin that's ever worked for them after the events of Ultimatum, acknowledges that Paul Greengrass's fantastic, genre-bending trilogy happened. But from there it's a bullshit story where Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) tries to find the government drugs he needs to make him who he is. The film tries to have the same realistic grit as the previous films, but it keeps forgetting that it replaced the badass amnesiac with a druggie. It's the rare sort of bad sequel that, if you didn't know it existed, you'd be better off for it.

5. Lockout

Lockout is the latest from famed french screenwriter Luc Besson, and the first film in quite a while to star the great Guy Pearce, who usually just has cameos in other, much better movies than this crappily written Die Hard space. Yes, I realize that sounds amazing, but aside from some witty banter from Mr. Pearce, there isn't anything about this movie that makes us care even remotely about these people. It's not aggressively stupid, but it is incredibly mediocre, to the point that it's annoying. You can see every twist from a mile away, even when you can tell how stupid they are.

4. Act of Valor

Act of Valor was intended as a recruitment video for Navy SEALS, and it shows. I have to be careful what I say, because there are a ton of people in my area, and a few probably reading this, who love this movie. It's understandable, if you like military shit, a story about being a Navy SEAL featuring active-duty Navy SEALs in the starring roles, using actual Navy SEAL tactics should be fantastic, right? There's even at least one very well-filmed scene (that invasion scene was pretty badass. Okay, so is the interrogation scene). But most of the film is kind of pointlessa; the characters talk and act like what the movie wants us to think real people talk and act like, but there is one problem: Navy SEALs are not actors, and there's something kind of perverse about putting them through the things they are put in in this film. It's not awful, but it's not really a movie, it's just propaganda.

3. The Lorax

Okay, I've been pretty nice so far to the movies on this list, because, to be fair, they're almost all at least watchable. Except for this movie. In the words of Roger Ebert "I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated it." The E-Man was talking about the Elijah Wood movie North, but it holds true here. It was bad enough that they fouled up one of Dr. Seuss's most tragically straightforward books by filling it with stupid jokes, annoying cliches, and poor voice acting. The ultimate sacrilege is what the film represents. A bunch of greedy executives took what was essentially an anti-capitalist story and turned into the year's number one product. It's the ultimate perversion: an environmental message being sold to us on the side of buses. Perhaps you can watch it, just so long as you don't think too much about all the starving voice actors in Hollywood who did not get hired because the studio wanted Taylor Swift and Zac Efron.

2. Project X

It's curious that this film came out the same month as Chronicle; whereas that movie managed to be great in spite of it's found footage approach, Project X keels under it. To be fair, I was surprised that this was based on a surprisingly interesting true story, let alone that it even had a plot. However, just barely. I borderline hated the characters, and the film spends way too much enjoying what is clearly a party gone totally wrong, when it would have been far more interesting and entertaining if it let the characters languish in its disaster. Instead, it's a dreadfully condescending movie about a bunch of nerdy kids who become cool when they throw a dangerous party and then get no real consequences. It's not that I'm a prude whose afraid of parties or chaos, but chaos disguised as fun is no fun at all.

1. The Twilight Sage: Breaking Dawn: Part 2

That's more colons than should be in a title. It's funny, really, I've been waiting forever for this movie to come out and finally end this crappy story. Now, I have to give credit where it's due, and the fair answer is that this is not an incredibly horrible film It's even fun to watch in a few campy ways, but the fact that 55% of the critics on rotten tomatoes apparently think it's worth watching is a bit preposterous. Yes, there is a riotously entertaining ending fight, but it's rendered worthless by one of the most ridiculous twists I've ever seen. Yes, you care about the characters a little more than in Twilight, but it doesn't help that they constantly make baffling choices. Or the fact that every major conflict is usually just some misunderstanding that Michael Sheen's hilariously prissy villain gets all upset about for no reason. But what baffles me the most about this supposedly romantic story is it's utter saccharine nature. I don't want to spoil anything, but what's there to spoil? There's no conflict! Literally every problem is just two vampires deciding to jump at each other instead of just fucking talking about it like normal people. But whatever. It's over. It's finally fucking over, so let's all start forgetting about it.

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